Barely 24 hours after Governor Nasir el-Rufai said bandits had no right and should be wiped out, the Northern Peoples Summit has called for government-backed negotiations and dialogue with bandits and Boko Haram to ensure peace in the North.
Rising from a two-day meeting in Kaduna on Friday, the Summit warned against continued attack and killing of Northerners in the Southern part of the country, while urging the government to “protect Nigerians anywhere they reside.”
The Summit noted that “restructuring is key to the continued unity and oneness of Nigeria in a single entity.”
Speaking via a communiqué signed by various components of the Summit, but read out by a former vice-chancellor of Plateau State University, Bokkos, Prof. Decent D. D. Sheni, the Summit partly read, “The Northern Peoples Summit convened at Arewa House, Kaduna, to discuss the issues bedeviling the North and the Nigerian state. These include security, restructuring, economic, politics and the survival of Nigerian state.
“The North resolves that there should be government-backed negotiations and dialogue with the bandits, Boko Haram and affected communities for effective peace in the North. The government should show effective presence in all ungoverned spaces in the
“The North believes that restructuring the country is now a vital necessity survival as one united entity. The North draws attention of the country to the inherent fragility of Nigerian state. For Nigeria to survive, all parts of the country must equally commit to supporting its continuation as one entity, without equivocation or subterfuge.
“The North extends an invitation to groups that are genuinely interested in discussing the future of the country. The North believes that every interest can be accommodated in one united, just and equitable nation, but the North cannot be the sole custodian of this endeavour. The North will not be stampeded or blackmailed into taking major decision around rotating the presidency.
“The North warns against the continuation of demonisation, attacks and killings of Northerners in the Southern part of the country. It demands that federal and state governments must take firmer steps to protect members of Northern communities who live in the South. This includes the arrest and prosecution of persons who are involved in these dangerous activities.”